Senate debates

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Matters of Public Importance


4:40 pm

Photo of Helen PolleyHelen Polley (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

What a lot of nonsense. It's the same speech that Senator McGrath comes in and gives every time we're in this chamber. His former government have no credibility at all. For over nine years not one surplus did they deliver—not one surplus at all. We've delivered that. What we've done is start to clean up the mess that they left behind, including the $1 trillion debt that the Liberal and Nationals left this country in. That's the reality. That's what the Australian people understand. That's what they made their decision on at the last election—who was going to be able to get us out of the mess that we were in. They very clearly said no to the 'noalition'.

Since re-emerging in opposition, they come in here and talk about the cost of living, which we are addressing. The Albanese government's budget eases the cost-of-living pressure on households. Our budget plan will directly reduce inflation in 2023-24. We know that Australians are struggling, something that those opposite failed to acknowledge in nine years when they continued to run down Australia's workers' wages. We saw the debt they kept piling on and piling on.

With this budget, instead of being a reasonable opposition that have accepted the election result and acknowledged that they failed on energy policy, what do we see from them? They are voting against things that are going to really ease the cost-of-living pressure on Australians. We hear the opposition come into this place talking about housing. We all know mortgage interest rates have gone up, which they were doing under their government. We have invested $14.6 billion in a cost-of-living package. These measures are expected to directly reduce inflation by three-quarters of a percentage point in 2023-24. We acknowledge Australians are under the pump, so we are carefully recalibrating and redesigning the budget to take the pressure off Australians. We are doing this in a responsible, adult way.

The budget priorities are responsible. They're targeted for cost-of-living relief while also investing in the future, securing services Australians rely on and strengthening the nation's finances. Our cost-of-living plan will directly lower price pressures and the CPI in 2023-24 and will not add to the broader inflationary pressure in the economy. We've delivered a responsible budget while still spending so that the government isn't adding to that inflation in our economy. This includes 87 per cent of revenue upgrades in October and May to the budget, compared to those, when they were in government, of an average of only 40 per cent. There's a big difference between 40 per cent and 87 per cent.

They've put their heads down. They don't want to hear these things. But Treasury's advice is that fiscal policy is working with monetary policy to tackle inflation in the near term. Australians are paying the price for the coalition's decade of failures. The coalition oversaw a decade of wasted opportunities. They had warped priorities and they left Australians with falling real wages. They had broken supply chains, which made inflation worse. They left $1 trillion—not $1 billion—of debt without an economic dividend to show for it—not one. And they espouse themselves to be the great economic managers between the two major parties! You have been seen for your failings. You have failed. You had 22 energy policies and couldn't land on one policy that was going to address the energy needs of this country. So, now when you're in opposition, you want to oppose everything. You won't support anything that we are doing in trying to restructure the National Reconstruction Fund, the Housing Australia Future Fund, or cleaner and cheaper energy. The coalition are just voting to increase inflation. That's what you're doing. We want inflation to be lower. You want it to be higher, or you would get on board and support the very good policies that are going to assist the housing crisis in this country. We are going to do something about energy. We're delivering real benefits to Australians. My home state of Tasmania will get a— (Time expired)


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